SportsIt would be hard to imagine professional sports in the 21st Century without African Americans. Opportunity has allowed them to advance to cutting edge performance in many sports. The arenas of baseball, tennis and boxing have hosted unparalleled greats such as; Satchel Page, the first black pitcher for the World Series in 1948; Sam Hairston of the Chicago White Sox in 1951; Joe Louis Barrow, the first black heavyweight champion in 1954; Joe Frazier, Olympic Gold Medal winner in heavyweight boxing in 1963; Arthur Ashe, tennis star who won the US Open and Wimbledon in 1978; and Venus and Serena Williams tennis stars from 1999 to the present.
The sport of basketball has produced All-Stars like Kareem Abul Jabbar, Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Lisa Leslie. African Americans have participated and advanced in multifaceted sports including football, chess, fencing, automobile racing, golf, hockey, ice skating, horse riding, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, gymnastics and track at the amateur and professional levels.
One of the world's fastest bicycle racers was African American. In the late 1800's, Marshall Walter "Major" Taylor was the world's fastest cyclist for 12 years. Vitality, speed, agility, strength, power and sportsmanship are all characteristics that allowed African Americans to make great contributions to sports in the US and around the world.
Featured Spotlight: Marshall TaylorMarshall Taylor was an American cyclist. He was the first Black American athlete to achieve the level of world champion. He set numerous world records and overcame discrimination. He was born on November 26, 1878. He was given his first bike at the age of 12. Taylor began performing bicycle stunts for a local bike shop owner. He performed his stunts wearing a soldier's uniform and was given the nickname "Major". Taylor won his first race at the age of 13. After Taylor beat the 1 mile(1.6km) amateur track record, he was barred from the track because of his race. He made a reputation as "The Black Cyclone". Taylor started his professional cycling career at the age of 18. By 1898, he held seven world records and he had placed first in 29 of 49 races in which he competed. In 1899 he won the world championship. In 1902 Taylor participated in a Europeon tour. He won 40 of the 57 races in which he competed there. He also competed in Australia, Europe and New Zealand. He retired at the age of 32. Taylor died at the age of 53 on June 21, 1932 in the charity ward of Cook County Hospital in Chicago. Taylor was buried in an unmarked grave. His body was later exhumed and reburied by a group of former pro bike racers. Money was donated by Schwinn Bicycle Co. and Taylor's body was placed in a more prominant part of Mount Glenwood Cemetary in Illinois. View More Profiles
Althea GibsonAlthea Gibson was an American tennis player and professional golfer and one of the first Black athletes to cross the color line of international tennis. .
Black History USA Youth Scholarship Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) that was founded in 2015 by Glenn Singleton, publisher of Black History USA, an annual Black History calendar. Mr. Singleton's vision when creating the foundation was to further develop and cultivate relationships between the youth of Greenville and the Scholarship foundation. Through this relationship, the Future Leaders Conference was formed.Learn More